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Letter to the Senate in support of the DREAM Act

October 23, 2007

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge you to vote YES on cloture and final passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S. 2205).  Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 110th Congress.

Each year, over 50,000 undocumented students who have lived in the United States for at least five years graduate from U.S. high schools. Among these students are class valedictorians, straight-A students, and idealistic youth committed to bettering their communities. Yet, because of enourmous barriers created by their lack of legal status, many such students are unable to pursue higher education and many drop out of high school because they know they will be unable to continue on to college. The loss to these students, and to society as a whole, is significant.

The DREAM Act will provide a path to legal status for individuals brought to the U.S. as undocumented children years ago. The Act is narrowly tailored. It would apply only to individuals brought to the U.S. at least five years ago as children, who have grown up here, and who have remained in school and out of trouble. Such students could adjust their status to that of a conditional permanent resident and could then have the conditional status lifted if they complete at least two years of college or serve in the military.  

The bill will also have significant fiscal benefits for states and local communities. For example, a 30-year-old immigrant who graduates from college will pay $5,300 more in taxes and cost $3,900 less in government expenses each year than if she had dropped out of high school. State and local taxpayers have already invested in the education of these children in elementary and secondary school and deserve to get a return on their investment

Again, we urge your support for this important legislation. 

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy